Kagame desperate to hold on to power, resorts to more severe domestic terrorism tactics

For anyone who has not heard, Amnesty International condemned the recent intimidation attacks hurled at presidential hopefuls in opposition to Kagame in Rwanda.  Some of the intimidating attacks include actual physical violence perpetrated by mobs against a female candidate.

When mob attacks did not work to deter the presidential hopefuls, Kagame up the ante. First, he created extremely rigid election laws, preventing anyone from properly registering and freely campaigning across the country. Specifically, candidates can only publicly proclaim their candidacy 26 days before the elections and have only 18 to campaign across the country. And that’s 26 days in total for the whole campaign process. The Chairman for the National Electoral Commission stated:

The Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Professor Crysologue Karangwa told APA Friday that the eighteen days were enough for a serious presidential aspirant to go around the country of thirty districts campaigning.

“Eighteen days are enough for a serious presidential candidate to cover the country, we do not expect them to visit every village or district in the country by themselves, they have supporters who should help in campaigns,” Karangwa said.

Is this guy serious? He presumes to know how members of opposition parties will run their campaigns or how much support they have. Obviously he doesn’t mean what he says. I mean obviously can’t mean it.. He is only saying it because it rationalizes the absurdity of restricting political candidates to 26 days of announcing their presidential candidacy and actually campaigning around the country.  I mean it’s not sabotage for goodness sakes, it’s just the RULES! It doesn’t get any more absurd than this. Or does it?

Well it does. Not only are candidates restricted to 26 days, but any violation is punishable by law and subject to candidate disqualification for the elections. It is unclear if these laws will be backdated or not. However for specifics, if you think I’m making this stuff up, here you go:

In the remaining less than four months those wishing to stand for presidency were advised to keep it to themselves as in accordance to the law.

“Before the said dates, those planning to declare their candidature should abide by the law and wait. According to the electoral law no political activities are expected before the approval of candidates,” Karangwa said. (emphasis mine)

I’m struck by that word “approval” stuck right in there. It reads to me, like the arbitrarily enforced violation of the “genocide ideology” law. Who will be approving candidates and on what terms? How likely is it, that they will be disapproved based on speculation regarding their candidacy? That is, if the population presumes one to be running for president, even if one has not “officially” made such an announcement,  will that person be disqualified for running in the presidential election? Will the approval be based on how receptive the country is towards a certain candidate? It’s no secret that the Rwandan dictatorship is plagued with vague and arbitrarily enforced laws, and this is one of them. Some of the vague laws and language are used to intimidate and silence opposition. These in particular are supposed to create the ultimate barrier to the presidency for the opposition (at least before resorting to the use of physical violence to halt opponents) as far as the law can go without being regarded as a fascist attempt to remain in power by all means necessary. Although as far as I’m concerned, this is a fascist attempt to hold on to power by any means necessary.

And if all else fails, call upon oft reliable, never fail friend of the RPF, physical violence. Think they won’t? Well think again, because they already have.

After the bizarre announcement of the new electoral process laws, three grenades were coincidentally detonated around the capital city of Kigali. The BBC writes:

At least one person has been killed and 18 injured in three simultaneous grenade attacks in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, state media report.

A bus station, a restaurant and another building housing several businesses were targeted, state radio said.

While there is no “clear connection” between these attacks and the election, the timing is oddly suspicious and peculiarly familiar to the pre-April 1994 period. One thing many do not realize is that the RPF is notorious for terror and intimidation. From the time they attacked a sovereign nation in 1990 and creating a four year war that culminated in the genocide, to the five million deaths in the Congo, there is no terror tool beyond the RPF’s use. And remember the RPF is led by current Rwandan President Paul Kagame. If you don’t see the connection here, I can’t help you.

During the 1990-1994 period, prior to the genocide, the RPF used bombs and grenades to intimidate people and to terrorize them. It appears the RPF is back at its games. Most Rwandans and few other people around the world know the RPF instigated the conflict that began in 1990, and they know it was the RPF who committed mass terror for the longest period of time. While Kagame has brainwashed the world to believe he rose out of nowhere to halt a deadly genocide from destroying a nation, it is also true that Kagame terrorized that nation into submission although people remain largely unaware of this fact. Kagame is not, and has never been a popular figure in Rwanda, despite his resume of instigating (fact largely unknown by the world), and then subsequently halting the genocide. It is through terror that Kagame became the leader of Rwanda, and it is through terror that Kagame remains the leader of Rwanda. These grenade attacks are no coincidence, and they are no random acts of violence. They are calculated attempts to remind the populous of Kagame’s predilection for terror. It is a reminder that 1990-1994 could possibly be relived should they attempt to challenge him, even if by only support other challengers. The grenade attacks are terror tools used to intimidate and confuse the population, to conquer and divide amongst inconsequential affiliations. This is what the RPF does. It is what they have done, and what they will continue to do.

The world at large still enjoys a fairly moderate love affair with President Kagame. Many are ignorant to the RPF actions both in Rwanda and in the Congo. Because of most people’s familiarity with the 1994 genocide and the concurrent ignorance of the events before and after 1994, people easily give President Kagame a pass. They forgive him for his transgressions. Because as far as they are concerned, Kagame saved Rwanda and Rwandans in 1994 and that is good enough for them. But as far as I’m concerned, the lives saved in 1994 are not worth more than the lives that perished between 1990 and 1994, and 1996- today. Kagame does not deserve to remain on any pedestal nor should he be absolved from all the other crimes committed by himself and the RPF.

There is no reason Rwanda should spiral back into a deadly convulsion. People should become aware of Kagame’s tactics, and should call upon every capable party to demand civility from Kagame for once in his life. Opposition leaders are only that. Leaders of opposition. They have not won any significant influential power, nor are they any threat to the RPF machine. These deadly tactics by the status quo in Rwanda are uncalled for, unnecessary, and extremely reminscent of pre 1994 genocide.

If you think I’m being too harsh on the RPF in this post, think of all the lives that perished in 1990-1994. Think of the 1994 genocide (even if he prevailed against others, Kagame was an active participant in the death of human beings during the genocide). Think of 5-6 million lives lost in the Congo. All these deaths were preventable. Deaths that could potentially take place in Rwanda due to these elections are also preventable. Are those people any less deserving of life simply because Kagame hangs out with Tony Blair, Google, and Bill Gates? Seriously? I find it fascinating how when Kagame’s back is against the wall, that is when human rights groups, and Judges demand accountability from him, he uses weak claims of pan-African Unity and sovereignty, and respect to deflect from his criminal behavior. Yet he never bats an eye when it comes to employing and hobnobbing with  known British imperialist Tony Blair. The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

Despite all that, Kagame’s intimidation tactics must end. Lives must be spared. And communities must be rebuilt. And not in terror. Stop Kagame’s terrorism now!

ETA: I realize that the Rwanda government is blaming the grenade attacks on “interahamwe.” But is anyone seriously surprised by that? Is that not what Kagame et al did all throughout the early 90s?  Colored Opinions writes:

The state run Rwanda News Agency published this report that Rwandan Police have arrested two men and that they have claimed, within less than 24 hours that “all the evidence” points to the guilt of the Interahamwe.

When a presidential candidate from the opposition was attacked my a mob, members of the police present did NOT even interfere with this attack. YET I’m supposed to believe they are so efficient they caught the two parties responsible, and by God, they belong to the 1994 genocide terrorist group, the “interahamwe.” I tip my hat to the Kagame propaganda machine, but pray that the world wakes up and prevents the 1994 genocide from happening all over again. This time we know. No one can claim ignorance anymore. No one. Not even you Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Especially not you.

Amnesty International Press Release: Rwanda: Intimidation of opposition parties must end!

Seems Rwanda’s attempt to intimidate opposition only resulted in (most likely) unwanted international attention. Latest to blow the whistle? Amnesty Interantional. Below is a full reprint of their press release urging Rwanda to stop intimidation against opposition.

Rwanda: Intimidation of Opposition Parties Must End

18 February 2010

AI Index: PRE01/058/2010

Amnesty International has strongly condemned a worrying attack on a Rwandan opposition group as the country prepares for presidential elections in August 2010.

In a letter to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Amnesty International urged him to use the elections as an opportunity to show the government’s commitment to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

“Past elections have been marred by intimidation, however this year’s vote gives Rwanda the chance to promote rights not repression,” said Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Deputy Director Tawanda Hondora.

The letter was prompted by a recent attack on two members of United Democratic Forces (Forces Démocratiques Unifiées, FDU-Inkingi) and harassment of the President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (Parti Démocratique Vert du Rwanda, DGPR).

“Amnesty International is concerned that these recent incidents are part of a wider pattern of intimidation and harassment to discourage and discredit opposition groups,” said Tawanda Hondora.

On 3 February, Victoire Ingabire, president of the FDU-Inkingi, and her aide Joseph Ntawangundi were attacked in the capital Kigali while collecting documents needed for the party’s registration from a government building.

During the attack Victoire Ingabire’s passport was stolen and Ntawangundi was severely beaten.
Amnesty International welcomes the police enquiry into the incident.  However, Police Spokesman Eric Kayiranga confirmed, as of 15 February, that no charges were pressed and some of those arrested had been released.

“Opening an investigation is a good first step,” said Tawanda Hondora, “but an effective investigation must be prompt, impartial and bring those responsible for the attack to justice.”

Three days after the incident, the New Times alleged that Ntawangundi had been convicted of genocide in absentia in 2007 by a gacaca court – a community tribunal set up to try genocide cases. He was arrested the same day, 6 February, on charges of involvement in the 1994 genocide, which left as many as 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu dead.

A law criminalizing “genocidal ideology,” whose terms are vague and ambiguous, was promulgated on 1 October 2008, unduly stifling freedom of expression. The offence is punishable by 10 to 25 years’ imprisonment.

Victoire Ingabire, has regularly been denounced in media close to the government as being “negationist” of the genocide or “divisionist” for public remarks made since her return from exile in January 2010 calling for the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Hutu by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

The leader of the Ideal Social Party (PS-Imberakuri, PSI), Bernard Ntaganda, was also called before the Rwandan Senate to answer accusations of genocide ideology in late 2009.

“Rwanda has an obligation to prohibit speech that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” said Tawanda Hondora, “but Rwanda’s laws on genocide ideology too often conflate legitimate political dissent with such incitement.”

Frank Habineza, the President of the Green Party, has also reported being threatened by a man he suspects to be a security agent on 4 February in a hotel in Kigali, the capital.

Habineza reported the incident to the police on 5 February and is awaiting further information on the status of investigations.

Amnesty International calls on the Rwandan government to investigate the intimidation of opposition groups, bring those responsible to justice and take immediate steps to respect the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly of opposition parties.

Rwanda’s Kagame warns critical presidential rival

This is a Reuters article that I thought was worth reprinting in whole here.  Sounds like Pres Kagame might be plotting something. We’ll see. Enjoy reading!

Rwanda’s Kagame Warns Criticacl Presidential Rival

By Hereward Holland

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwandan President Paul Kagame said an outspoken presidential aspirant could be prosecuted for inflammatory remarks about the 1994 genocide.

Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu who was living abroad during the 100-day slaughter, returned to Rwanda last month to launch a bid in the August presidential elections, in which analysts expect Kagame to win a second 7-year term.

“I think this individual is going too far in abusing the country’s goodwill and attempting to destroy the positive steps that have been established, but eventually the law will catch up with her,” he told reporters in Kinyarwanda on Monday.

Since her return Ingabire’s public comments, saying that the memory of Hutus killed during the genocide had not been fully acknowledged, have prompted heavy criticism from Rwanda’s largely pro-government media.

They accuse Ingabire of flouting the country’s post-genocide constitution which bans sectarianism and acts that could incite conflict or disputes. Rights groups say the law is vague and ill-defined and could be used to suppress views the government deems inappropriate.

Ingabire denies accusations that she is using ethnicity to garner support for the elections and says Rwanda needs to open the political space to defuse ethnic tension through discussion.

“I do not think it is wrong to talk about what is happening in our country and how we can avoid making the same mistakes,” she told Reuters by telephone.

“I am not worried because I know that I did not do anything wrong… everybody knows that they use this law against everybody who is in opposition.”

Ingabire, who worked as an accountant for nine years in The Netherlands, heads the yet to be registered United Democratic Forces (UDF).

“She does not have political status according to the law,” Kagame said.

“This is a person who actually counted on being immediately apprehended upon arrival at the airport – this was what she hoped for, so that it would serve her interests. But there is no need to play into that situation.”

Last week a mob attacked her, stole her handbag and injured her personal assistant. Police say her aggressors accused her of ethnic divisionism.

Kagame’s government has suppressed ethnic debate in an attempt to forge a national identity and move away from tribal politics which led to the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Ingabire denies allegations made in a 2009 U.N. report linking some UDF members to Rwandan Hutu rebels in eastern Congo, some of whose leaders were responsible for the genocide.

(Editing by Tim Pearce)

Human Rights Watch Reports on Rwanda’s Internal Terror for Political Opposition Leaders

Check out Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties at Human Rights Watch or read it in full below. The whole report is too significant to simply quote things from it, so I reprinted the whole thing.  Very interesting perspective on what is going on for political opposition leaders in Rwanda.

Rwanda: End Attacks on Opposition Parties
Intimidation of Political Opponents Increases in Advance of Presidential Election

February 10, 2010

(Kigali) – Opposition party members are facing increasing threats, attacks, and harassment in advance of Rwanda’s August 2010 presidential election, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged the government to investigate all such incidents and to ensure that opposition activists are able to go about their legitimate activities without fear.

In the past week, members of the FDU-Inkingi and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda – new opposition parties critical of government policies – have suffered serious incidents of intimidation by individuals and institutions close to the government and the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). One member of the FDU-Inkingi was beaten by a mob in front of a local government office. The attack appeared to have been well coordinated, suggesting it had been planned in advance.

“The Rwandan government already tightly controls political space,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “These incidents will further undermine democracy by discouraging any meaningful opposition in the elections.”

The Rwandan government and the RPF have strongly resisted any political opposition or broader challenge of their policies by civil society. On several occasions, the government has used accusations of participation in the genocide, or “genocide ideology,” as a way of targeting and discrediting its critics. The current RPF-dominated government has been in power in Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide.

Victoire Ingabire, president of the FDU-Inkingi, has faced an intensive campaign of public vilification since she returned from exile in the Netherlands in January 2010. She has been widely condemned in official and quasi-official media and described as a “negationist” of the genocide for stating publicly that crimes committed against Hutu citizens by the RPF and the Rwandan army should be investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

Beating of Joseph Ntawangundi
Ingabire received a phone call on February 3 from the executive secretary of Kinyinya sector, Jonas Shema, who told her that she should come with her colleagues to the local government office to collect official documents required for their identity cards. When Ingabire and Joseph Ntawangundi, a party colleague, arrived outside the local government office, they were met by a group of people. Two men jostled Ingabire, grabbed her by the arms, and stole her handbag, which contained her passport. The attackers shouted, “We don’t want génocidaires here!” and, “We don’t want people with genocide ideology!” Ingabire managed to run to her car unharmed; some of the men threw stones at the car as it drove off.

The men then turned on Ntawangundi and beat him severely. He described to Human Rights Watch being attacked for about 45 minutes by scores of young men who punched him, kicked and scratched him, threw him into the air, and ripped his clothes. They stole his watch, glasses, and shoes. The attack appeared to be designed not only to hurt Ntawangundi, but also to humiliate him. At one point, at least six people held him in the air, with his feet apart, and carried him toward a tree. They insulted him and shouted phrases such as: “We don’t want you here! You have no right to an identity card!”

The attack appears to have been well organized. On several occasions, when the beatings became particularly brutal, individuals who appeared to be leading the group ordered the others to stop – for example, when the assailants each picked up a stone from a pile on the ground and prepared to throw them at Ntawangundi.

Several witnesses told Human Rights Watch that policemen and members of the Local Defense Force were present during the attack, but did not try to stop it – nor did Shema, the executive secretary, seem to make any effort to call for assistance.

Eventually, alerted to the attack by other members of the FDU-Inkingi, police from the nearby station intervened. The mob followed Ntawangundi to the police station and stayed there for about 10 minutes. The police claim they have opened an investigation, but have declined to provide any information on whether there has been any progress or any arrests made.

When Human Rights Watch representatives met with Ntawangundi the day after the beating, he was visibly suffering from his injuries and was finding it painful to walk. Although he had been given pain medication when he went to a hospital for treatment, he said pain remained in his kidneys, back, and head.

Rwandan government and police authorities have offered a different version of events, claiming that residents of Kinyinya who had been waiting for their identity documents for a long time became angry and reacted spontaneously against Ingabire and her colleague when they allegedly jumped the line. This version was broadcast widely on Rwandan and international media.

In a telephone conversation with Human Rights Watch, police spokesperson Eric Kayiranga minimized the incident, but said that the police were investigating. Human Rights Watch tried to contact Shema several times, but he was unavailable.

Arrest of Joseph Ntawangundi
Three days later, on February 6, police arrested Ntawangundi on accusations of participation in the genocide. They told him that a gacaca court, a community-based court set up to try crimes committed during the genocide, had convicted him in absentia. He was initially detained at the police station at Remera, in Kigali, but was not told of the specific charges against him. His Rwandan lawyer was not allowed to see him on February 6, though a foreign lawyer was allowed to see him the next day. He was transferred to Kimironko prison on February 8.

The FDU-Inkingi has stated that Ntawangundi was living abroad during the genocide, and that he had never heard about the accusations against him until the day before his arrest when an article containing these allegations was published in the New Times, a Rwandan newspaper that is closely aligned with the government.

Read the rest Here.

Let’s Put Rwanda’s Latest Major Internal Terrorist Act in Perspective

Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the first female presidential candidate in Rwanda, and front runner political opponent to current President Kagame’s recent violent attack should not be taken lightly nor should it be taken as an isolated random act of violence. In a political context, she was merely a political candidate being intimidated with the hopes that her political ambitions would be quailed. Across the globe, many political aspirants have been suppressed by various means including battery, jail time, even death. Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is therefore joining the long tradition of political struggle especially in hostile political environments.

But more than your average political activist whose political ideals are forcefully suppressed, Madame Victoire Umuhoza is a woman attempting to break even further barriers. She seeking a spot into a political atmosphere that has often been if not hostile to women, completely exclusionary to their participation. And as she gains more momentum, she is being marginalized and the traditional tools used to oppress women is employed in her honor, namely, violence against women.

As a country touted to have made the most political, economic, and social progress of all Africa, it should come as a surprise that Rwanda would employ violence as a means to suppress the lone woman political opposition leader but it does not. Is it a sign of political progress that Rwanda does not “discriminate” when it comes to the mistreatement of opposition? Or is it a sign of cowardice that haunts the RPF in that, as soon as a woman rises to challenge the leadership, she must “be put into her place” with battery? Rwanda was once celebrated as having the most number of women participants in governmental positions. However, as evidenced by Madame Victoire’s recent attack, the glass ceiling will be enforced with an iron fist, or in her case a sharp knife which was used to attack her assistant. 

Women in the Great Lakes Region have been victimized by some of the most horrific violence that have taken place. And Madame Victoire’s potential election represents hope for all these women, and liberation from constant physical and sexual violence encountered by women not only in war time but in “peaceful” times as well. And this ideal of social and political liberation for the women of the Great Lakes Region is not only a threat to Kagame and the RPF, but to all those perpetrators of violence, and enforcers of inequality, and aggression.

So I say it again, the recent attack against her should not be taken lightly. It is not merely an attack on a political opponent, but an attack on a bigger ideal, and a bigger potential for peace, equality, and liberation, not just for women, but everyone who stands against violence and terror. It is a message sent by Kagame and the RPF to reinforce the notion that no political challenge will be tolerated, and more than that, that they have no room in their consciousness  to stop violence, but that they plan to continue to employ violence against anyone in order to maintain their political hold. And this is not news for anyone whose followed Kagame’s career since the 1980s.

How else would you explain the occurance of such an attack on the lone woman opponent? That she made remarks that “seemingly” minimized that 1994 genocide? Eric Brown at Human Rights First Puts it best when he says:

Recently, a Rwandan opposition political leader returned home after 16 years outside of the country. She is the first woman to attempt a run at the presidency of Rwanda. Upon landing at the Kigali Airport, Ms. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza headed to the genocide memorial at Gisozi. During an interview with a member of the media, she expressed words that virtually every Rwandan living inside Rwanda is too terrified to utter. She said that the memorial shows the genocide committed against Tutsis in Rwanda but leaves out massacres committed against Hutus. In Rwanda, it is a cardinal sin to mix these two issues. The issue of genocide against Tutsi’s is well acknowledged and is a reminder of Rwanda’s dark past. What is intriguing is that it is sacrilege to acknowledge that there were crimes against humanity and massacres committed against Hutus. The major issue with these crimes against humanity is that they were committed by the RPF (Rwanda’s current ruling party) as Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have pointed out time and time again. The big issue with Ms. Umuhoza’s speech is that she is telling an “inconvenient truth”.

As soon as Umuhoza made these comments, government newspapers such as New Times, government officials, other government sponsored media organizations, and several genocide survivor organizations went on a full blown attack against the politician and called for her prosecution on charges of divisionism and genocide denial. The question here is this: how does saying that Hutu’s were killed deny that Tutsi’s were killed? How does saying that Americans were killed in the recent earthquake in Haiti deny that Haitians were killed? This genocide denial charge and divisionism are crimes that the Rwandan government added to the tiny country’s laws in order to muzzle opposition and to silence any voices of dissent. It was predictable that Ms. Umuhoza would face such talk and it is conceivable that she may have to answer to these charges in court.  This will be Rwanda’s way of blocking her candidacy to the presidency as she poses a real threat to actually win Rwanda’s upcoming elections if they are held in a free and fair manner. (emphasis mine)

Is that justification to employ violence against her? Does anyone else not see the irony that? Although it is the weakest excused used to attempt to justify how a lone woman political opponent would be attacked and beaten by a mob under the President Kagame’s watch, I am not buying it, and I hope that from this point forward, a fair and democratic election processes will take place. Knowing President Kagame’s predilection for terror and violence however, I am not holding my breath.

Rwanda’s Election Opposition Leader Demands Protection After Mob attack in Rwanda

From VOA News:

Rwanda Opposition Candidate Demands Protectio Ahead of Election

The leader of Rwanda’s opposition United Democratic Forces says she will officially present a letter to President Paul Kagame Thursday to demand protection ahead of the scheduled August general election.

Peter Clottey | Washington, DC 03 February 2010

Map of RwandaRwanda’s media reports that other opposition groups have condemned the attack and accused President Kagame’s ruling Patriotic Front Party (RPF) of complicity – – a charge RPF denies.

The leader of Rwanda’s opposition United Democratic Forces says she will officially present a letter to President Paul Kagame Thursday to demand protection ahead of the scheduled August general election. Victoire Ingabire said an unidentified youth group attacked her and her aide at Kinyinya sector, a suburb of the capital, Kigali.

“Today, I received a call from the mayor of the sector where I live, Kinyinya, and he told me that I have to return my ID. And when I arrived in his office, there were younger people who began to batter us, me and one of my colleagues. And they took my bag. (Then,) I went back quickly to my car, but my colleague stayed back and they battered him. And after (that, I) took him to hospital,” she said.

Rwanda’s media reports that other opposition groups have condemned the attack and accused President Kagame’s ruling Patriotic Front Party (RPF) of complicity – – a charge RPF denies.


Victoire Ingabire leader of Rwanda’s opposition United Democratic Forces.

Ingabire said the police failed to stop the attack, but the police deny Ingabire’s account.

“When they battered us, the police were there and they didn’t do anything. They watched us (as) the young people battered us,” she contended.

Several opposition party groups have vowed to defeat the ruling party in the upcoming election after visiting Ingabire’s injured aide at the hospital.

Ingabire said the ruling party wants to undermine her campaign ahead of the vote.

“We see that the government of General Kagame does not accept all political activities in our country. You know that I have been back to the country now three weeks ago, and they are doing everything to prevent (me) from participating in the election. They know that the population needs the change and they know that the population wants (me) to participate in the election, and they want me as the leader of them. This is why they (will) do everything that people will be afraid to come to me,” Ingabire said.

Ingabire recently came under fire for reportedly making pronouncements that genocide survivor groups (members of IBUKA) considered insulting.

IBUKA then called on the government to prosecute Ingabire, saying her pronouncement belittles the 1994 genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in a 100-day massacre.

Some political analysts say the latest attack against Ingabire could have resulted from her recent controversial remarks.

Rwanda’s Election Opposition Leader Attacked by Mob in Govt Building

Madame Victoire Umuhoza, a front runner in the upcoming Rwandan Elections of 2010 in opposition to current controversial President Kagame was beaten by a lynch mob along with her assistant outside of a government building where she was on official campaign business in Rwanda. Both her and her assistant were attacked, and when alerted, the authorities interrogated her assistant instead of providing the victims with assistance.

This situation is highly suspicious, and is being monitored extremely closely. I will provide updates as they become available. But for now, here is a press release by Madame Victoire Umuhoza’s party FDU Inkingi. Notable in the press release is the following:

 UDF INKINGI hold the government responsible of that incident, as it took place in a government building, without any intervention at all from the authority. This is a grotesque and horrific practice of terror towards an opposition candidate.

Visit the Party Webiste here: Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Narrowly Survives a Lynch Mob Ambush Masterminded by the Regime Or Read the entire press release below:

Mrs. Victoire Ingabire, president of UDF-INKINGI and flag bearer of the party for the upcoming presidential election in Rwanda, has been beaten, along with her assistant, Joseph Ntawangundi. At around noon, an executive officer from Kinyinya Sector, known as Shema, invited her to collect administrative papers in respect to the application for a police record. 

Upon arrival at Kinyinya premises, Mrs Ingabire was surrounded by a prepared lynch mob, beaten but managed to retreat to her vehicle. The assailant militia snatched her handbag and other personal belongings including her newly acquired ID and her passport. Mr. Joseph Ntawangundi, was savagely and thoroughly beaten by the vicious assailants without any intervention from the authority. He suffered ribs and legs injury and was stripped half naked. He was later rushed to King Fayçal Hospital in Kigali for emergency treatment and his condition is still worrying.

Alerted by the driver, the police reached the scene later and despite his condition took Mr. Joseph Ntawangundi, for interrogations. He was released after one and half hour.

UDF INKINGI hold the government responsible of that incident, as it took place in a government building, without any intervention at all from the authority. This is a grotesque and horrific practice of terror towards an opposition candidate.

This is just the latest in a growing list of blatant attacks and harassments that compromise public confidence in our security systems. The reign of terror being carried out by certain sectors of the administration, the police forces and militia lynching is unacceptable.

We mainly refer to other incidents that occurred on Wednesday 27th January 2010, at Nyagasambu (Kigali). Exercising our rights to freedom of movements in our country, our two vehicles were ordered by police officers to pull off. Drivers’ Licenses and vehicles registration papers were confiscated. The official charge was “careless driving”. Unable to substantiate the allegations on spot, the officers confirmed that they received orders from their hierarchy to stop our vehicles.

This is notwithstanding the numerous hate editorials of a section of public and hate media.

UDF INKINGI warns that these coward acts of intimidation will not deter the party from its resolve to push ahead for more democratisation of the country.

UDF INKINGI calls on the government to face its responsibilities and stop these acts which may jeopardise the whole electoral process.  


Office of the Chairperson,

Mrs. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.


Rwanda Still Failing in Human Rights Even in 2009

In recent times Rwanda applied for its inclusion into the Commonwealth. Before it’s application could be approaved however, Rwanda needed to be evaluated on the basis of its human rights.

One of the professors involved in Rwanda’s review, Professor Yash Ghai, published a short summary article of his impression of Rwanda in the Kenyan newspaper The Standard. Below is the full article of the professor’s impression of Rwanda, which seems to be shock a lot of people, while most of us have known this information for ages. Pretty soon I will also publish excerpts from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative report on Rwanda’s application into the commonwealth. The information contained therewithin is just as damaging as the article published in The Standard for the RPF and Rwandan government’s reputation.

I’m not sure how many more similar reports must be published before people will take notice, and start to be open to the idea that perhaps the people they thought were heroes are just as culpable of atrocities as the people they believe to be the perpetrators. Either way, here is Professor Yash Ghai’s article:

Rwanda enjoys a positive reputation internationally and its President Paul Kagame is regularly praised by the World Bank, the US, and UK administrations for his integrity, efforts at reconciliation, and economic policies. I was impressed by his advice to Kenyans at the national prayer breakfast last May to follow his government’s example of commitment to ethnic diversity, consensus building on the common good, national values, and inclusion of all political views in national life and development agenda.

When I visited Rwanda at the request of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to do a report on the state of human rights and democracy in Rwanda (in connection with Rwanda’s application to join the Commonwealth) my first impressions, despite some critical reports I had read, were favourable: Very efficient and courteous processing of incoming passengers, a safe, clean and well organised Kigali, and bright and suave officials.

However, I was put on guard when every non-official person I interviewed, diplomats, journalists, professionals, and local and international civil society officers, would not speak to me except on assurances of anonymity.

When I read the constitution, I found no mention of ethnic or religious groups, and came across legislation, which banned discussion of ethnicity (yet huge government posters reminded people of the “genocide against the Tutsi”, although of course many Hutus had also been massacred). Those who imply that Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front had killed Hutus unnecessarily are heavily penalised, as are those who question official accounts of the genocide. This hardly fits with Kagame’s advocacy of reconciliation, inclusion or coming to terms with the past.

Exiled hutus

Reading numerous reports of the UN Security Council, UNHCR or international NGOs, memoirs of some key Rwandan politicians and of the commander of the UN forces Romeo Dallaire, and scholarly literature, I learnt that, though of course the Tutsi had suffered greatly at the hands of a large number of Hutus, the RPF had also killed thousands of Hutus, and driven many to exile (and then pursued them in their countries of exile). Incoming Tutsi have appropriated Hutu owned land. When considered strategic, the RPF allowed the killing of Tutsis. Dallaire writes that their deaths can also be laid “at the door of the military genius, Kagame, who did not speed up his campaign when the scale of genocide became clear and even talked candidly with me at several points about the price his fellow Tutsi might have to pay for the cause”. Kagame refused Dallaire’s proposal to accept ceasefire to stop the massacre, because it did not suit Kagame’s grand design of Tutsi hegemony. He has been quoted as criticising people who see the war in terms of human rights. He has said that some conflicts are good, “a sort of purification” which “erupt in order to make a real transformation possible”.

The Rwanda regime relies on power structures that sometimes run parallel to, and sometimes crosscut, the formal government; and in which the army plays a central role. The country has relied heavily for its revenue (to fund its institutions and elite) on plunder of the mineral resources of the DRC.

Mode of extraction
It bears the primary responsibility for the political and economic instability in the Great Lakes Region (including the overthrow of the Congolese government), which is functional to its mode of extraction of wealth and its regional dominance.

It practises, and has contributed to, a complex, regional regime of illegal economic transactions, evasion of UN sanctions, arming of militias, criminal business organisations, and disregard of neighbours’ borders and fiscal systems, which has greatly impoverished the region.

The RPF has used an extraordinary amount of violence, domestically and internationally. It has killed several thousands Hutus, citizens and others, and is responsible for the deaths of even more through displacement, malnutrition and hunger. It has denied hundreds of thousands of children the opportunity of education, and deprived millions of family and community life. It has conscripted child soldiers. The UN has voluminously documented these practices and repeatedly chastised Rwanda for its irresponsible behaviour in the DRC. Beneath the gentility of RPF leaders, the tidiness of Kigali, and its gleaming high rise buildings, I found a country deeply fragmented, operating under the hegemony of a small Tutsi political elite, which rules through oppression and fear.

Effective Public Relations
I discovered that these leaders are extraordinarily effective at public relations, especially as directed at the West, and make the most of the guilt in the West for doing so little to prevent the terrible genocide in 1994, directed largely but not exclusively at the Tutsi.

[The report of the CHRI can be found at http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/hradvocacy/rwanda’s_application_for_membership_of_the_commonwealth.pdf%5D

Prof Ghai is a former CKRC Chaiman

The UN’s Role in Africa Put Into Perspective

Does the United Nations still have a role to play in global politics and ending humanitarian catastrophes and disasters? Or are they simply a for-profit organization that exists and preys on people’s pity for African plight? Considering their level of failure relative to their level of “fund raising” in the past two decades, I would say they UN functions as the latter.

Samuel Olara puts the UN’s role into perspective:

To many outside the hegemony of the dominant Western global powers that call the tunes at the UN, the organisation is fast losing credibility and is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Others regard the UN as nothing more than a bloated, corrupt “not-for-profit” charity organization experiencing acute brand crisis. Its priorities seem to be the comforts of its “disaster tourists” whose approach to catastrophe and genocides has always been to express “deep concern.”

Being a “not-for-profit” organisation whose success relies heavily on constituent perception, the UN is facing a significant challenge on its brand relevance and consideration, particularly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. It is no longer perceived as an effective global body whose legitimacy and authority are respected when its actions must go against the strategic interests of the most powerful states on its Security Council.

The United Nations has let down millions of the world’s weakest and most vulnerable people, especially in Africa. The U.N.’s failure to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Northern Uganda, 23 years with over 550,000 dead and counting; Rwanda, in 1994, over 800,000 dead; Democratic Republic of Congo, five million dead; Southern Sudan, over 200,000 dead; and, Darfur, 300,000 dead, are shameful episodes that have contributed to cyniscms about the capability and authority of the United Nations to preserve world peace and ensure human rights and global justice for all.

The United Nations has also been plagued with other troubles. It stood aside and watched as the United States, the UK and their coalition illegally invaded a sovereign state, Iraq, toppled the regime and hanged its leaders, on fictitious claims that the country was producing WMDs and was behind 9/11; a move that has proved a costly disaster both to the Iraqis and allied forces. The United Nations has also failed miserably to intervene in the Israel – Palestine onslaught.

It’s not even just the failure of the UN to find relevancy and effectiveness in humanitarian catastrophes, but:

The U.N. credibility crisis has also been compounded by a series of peacekeeping scandals, from Bosnia to Burundi to Sierra Leone. By far the worst instances of abuse have taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); it has the U.N.’s second largest peacekeeping mission, with over 16,000 peacekeepers.

In the DRC, the UN recently failed to ensure that civilians were protected from a botched “Operation Lightening Thunder” by the armies of Uganda, DRC and Southern Sudan – resulting in over 1,200 deaths. Again this was an operation planned, blessed and monitored by Washington, wherein Uganda sent its army in a failed bid to neutralize the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under Joseph Kony.

Previously, acts of criminality have been perpetrated by U.N. peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world.

The crimes involved rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls, including inside a refugee camp in the town of Bunia in north-eastern Congo. The alleged perpetrators include UN military and civilian personnel from Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, and France.

Read the whole thing at BSN.

Major Rwandan Genocide Criminal Arrested. Kagame Gets an Early X-mas Gift!

The news has been circulating around that recently, a former top aid to Rwandan President Kagame and top RPF official Rose Kabuye was arrested in Germany per the arrest warrants issued by French  Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière for the assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, former Rwandan President, and Cypriene Ntaryamira, former Burundian President in 1994.


These arrest warrants are no joke people. I know Kagame et al are very comfortable and they think that just because they have the US’s backing that no one will challenge them. And anyone who does risks being labeled a genocidaire sympathizer. But that’s just empty propaganda meant to silence. Looks like Germany is not falling for that one.

This arrest signifies a stride towards carrying out justice no matter how politically incorrect it may seem to the rest of the world. Some of the greatest achievements in history have been reached by overcoming violent opposition from the status quo. If you are a Christian, think about JESUS!

The culprits who assassinated two African Presidents in a power hungry move that led to and contributed to the massive killings in Rwanda should all be rounded up and prosecuted. That includes the current Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Hopefully if the fullest extent of justice is carried through, perhaps the complicit, enabling parties, and partners in crime like Ugandan President Museveni, as well as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton and Albright will all be brought to Justice as well. However it is a long road, and it is uncertain how and what the arrest of Rose Kabuye means in the context of justice for the Rwandan genocide globally.

Germany played its role and arrested Rose Kabuye. It has not been a full week since Kabuye was arrested in Germany. However, as of today, a facebook group in her honor titled, “Support Rose Kabuye” has managed to attract over 800+ supporters for this criminal. That is 800+ people joining this group in support of a criminal who in large part is responsible for the mass murders during the Rwandan genocide. Yet many people are unabashedly standing up for her, and providing her with public support.

I am embarrassed to say that when I checked the number of signatures on the recent petition to President Elect Obama, asking again from the USA what Germany has done, there were hardly 300 signatures. I know that the official genocide story is pervasive, but I have a difficult time believing that less than three hundred people believe that the contents of that petitions are important enough to support, even with fear of prosecution. How is it, that a public facebook group, where people are shown with their pictures next to their names can have more public support than a hidden and protected list of people?

Look, I’ve been involved in this story for a while now, and have done a lot of research to know that anyone who criticizes the Rwandan government puts themselves at risk for who knows what. But that should not stop anyone from challenging, holding accountable, and doing what is right. Because having been involved in this story for a while now, I also know that by doing nothing, people are surely putting themselves at risk for who knows what as well.

The truth must and will come out. However, fierce support is needed from the community of people who are aware, and who are engaged. Everyone should be doing outreach, educating, and making sure to question discrepencies, lies and frabrications to this story. What Germany did was arrest one person. This means little to people who are unaware of what went on, and what still goes on in Rwanda. It is also hardly challenging the main story line that is perpetuated. What it does instead is put Germany at odds with Rwanda just like France. They get viewed as genocidaire sympathizers, and considering Germany’s past with genocide, this is not a good look.

One woman arrested? While we should celebrate, we should also keep in mind that there is a much bigger goal to reach, a much more difficult goal to attain than simply removing a few individuals off the street and incarcerating them. The story line must be changed and the record must be set straight. We do nothing by removing individuals, who will inevitably be replaced by other individuals, who in turn will perpetuate the same story line.

We challenge future President Obama not to follow in the footsteps of Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as Albright. And hearing how it is rumored that Hillary may become his Secretary of State, we must act swifly and aggressively to hold him accountable. There is a serious danger of reverting back to the Clinton policies of the 1990s. Even if Barack Obama has immediate African blood, he is American first, and will support American foreign policy. Therefore, we must challenge him. Let him know we will not stand for it. We should let him know that even if the Clintons are working for him, they should not have major influences on his foreign policies, which in the African context means, countless deaths and spilled African blood. We must have visibility and a presence in our communities not just when Germany arrests one of Kagame’s lackeys.